The National Poetry Review

Emma DePanise


“The bite. The soul. The swallow.”—Bob Hicok

Crane your neck in Bern to blue, partly

cloudy and a baby about to lose

its head. Would its little digits twitch

like a severed lizard’s tail

before it quit? You can’t ask

your husband. He is taking

a photograph of cries

from little mouths stilled

open. Creases.

Fingers curled. Eyes

opened. The giant’s sack is full.

His red stomach rounding

over. You remember

this brimming, the counting

kicks to zero. Your husband

is mumbling something you don’t believe

like no pennies for this one. Fountain-parent

of stone-sacked baby, at least you know

what took her. Was it the air, the pressure, your own

body? You can’t say and you can’t say how this little

hollow hungers, how it statues, how it aches.

EMMA DePANISE’s poems are forthcoming or have appeared recently in journals such as Puerto del Sol, Plume Poetry, Superstition Review, Potomac Review, Nimrod International Journal and others. She is the 2018 winner of the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry. She currently studies poetry and works as a professional writing consultant at Salisbury University in Maryland.

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